The Evans Family Forest Preserve was purchased in December 1999 with a combination of funds from the Morris County Open Space Trust Fund, a Green Acres Grant from the State of New Jersey and funds from the Chester Township Open Space Trust Fund. This 110-acre tract is primarily wooded. It is traversed by Ayers Brook, which is classified as a Trout-Production Stream. This park is available for passive recreation. A trail system for hiking is currently under construction.
Future plans are for the addition of an interpretive nature trail and Scout Camping Area. Catch-and-release fishing for trout in Ayers Brook is permitted but restricted to artificial lures with barb-less hooks only.
Evans Preserve can be accessed at the Trailhead located at the end of Willow Drive where parking area is available or at the Trailhead on South Road where there is a gravel parking area that can accommodate 2 cars.
Evans Hiking Trails
There are currently about 7 miles of marked trails in the Evans Family Forest Preserve that can be combined to form walks ranging from a leisurely stroll to a strenuous hike. There are two entry points to the park. The main parking area is located at the end of Willow Drive where a small parking area and an information kiosk are located. A second trailhead is located on South Road, where parking is available for one vehicle. Use the park responsibly. Please do not litter. Open fires, alcoholic beverages, motorized vehicles and camping are prohibited. The park may be closed on certain days during the hunting season for deer management. Please check before using the park during the fall months. Report any problems to the Chester Township Police.
Saw Mill Trail (Green) 1.5 miles – The Saw Mill Trail begins at the parking area on Willow Drive. At a junction approximately 100 yards from the parking area, the Saw Mill Trail turns right uphill where the blue blazed Horton Trail heads downhill to the left. After heading uphill about .1 mi. the trail turns sharply left and follows a ridgeline to the highest point in the park at approx. .3 mi. where the yellow blazed Wycoff Trail starts and descends to the left. From here the trail descends steeply to the remains of an old dam which once created the pond that powered a saw mill. The trail turns left to follow the crest of the dam to Ayers Brook where the trail turns sharply right and follows the brook for approx. .1 mi.. After a small stream crossing the trail goes sharply left to cross Ayers Brook over a crossing constructed from logs. The trail then turns sharply right and follows the path of an old millrace for about 50 yards before turning sharply left, where the white blazed Evans Trail terminates. The trail continues through the woods reaching the junction with the red blazed Ayers Brook Trail in about .1 mi.. The trail then steeply ascends a hill to its terminus at the second junction with the white blazed Evans Trail.
Ayers Brook Trail (Red) 1.5 miles – The Ayers Brook Trail starts at a bridge on South Road where there is room to park one car. The trail enters the woods and parallels Ayers Brook for about .2 mi. where the trail turns left to join an old woods road, which the trail then follows to the right. After approx. .3 mi., the trailhead for the white blazed Evans rail is reached. The Ayers Brook trail bears to the right at this junction and descends to a junction with the yellow blazed Wycoff Trial. The trail then follows an old woods road which parallels Ayers Brook for about .3 mi. where the remains of the road terminate. The trail then enters the woods. The remains of the old millrace and Ayers Brook can be seen off to the right. After approx. .3 mi. the junction with the green blazed Saw Mill Trail is reached. About .2 mi. after passing the junction, the trail again follows the remains of an old road for about .2 mi. to its terminus at the junction with the white blazed Evans Trail.
Wycoff Trail (Yellow) 2.0 miles – The Wycoff Trail begins at the highest point in the park at a junction with the green blazed Saw Mill Trail. The trail descends steeply, crossing the blue blazed Horton Trail at .2 mi. and continuing down to a stream crossing at .3 mi.. The trail then turns left and ascends steeply for about .3 mi. where the trail turns sharply right at the crest of the hill. The trail continues through the woods and crosses a small stream where the remains of an old woods road are reached. The trail follows this road for about .3 mi. and enters a large open field. The trail follows the edge of the field about .1 mi. before turning sharply right onto an old road that descends to a crossing of Ayers Brook and a junction with the red blazed Ayers Brook Trail. The trail then ascends steeply about .2 mi. to its terminus at a junction with the white blazed Evans Trail.
Horton Trail (Blue) 0.5 miles – The Horton Trail starts about 100 yards from the parking area on Willow Drive. After following the green blazes from the parking area to the T-junction, the Horton Trail begins to the left descending on an old woods road. At about .2 mi a junction with the yellow blazed Wycoff Trail is reached. The trail continues downhill another .2 mi. to a stream crossing. The trail then continues along the road another .1 mi. to its terminus at its second junction with the yellow blazed Wycoff Trail.
Evans Trail (White) 1.5 miles – The Evans Trail begins at a junction with the red blazed Ayers Brook Trail approximately .5 mi. west of the trailhead on South Road. Where the Ayers Brook Trail bears right, the Evans Trail follows the old woods road ascending straight ahead. The trail follows the park perimeter reaching first the junction with the yellow blazed Wycoff Trail (.2 mi.) then the green blazed Saw Mill Trail (.6 mi.). The remains of the road become indistinct and the trail continues through the woods reaching an old stone wall, which marks the park boundary. The trail turns sharply right and heads downhill passing the terminus of the red blazed Ayers Brook Trail and continues downhill to Ayers Brook. The trail then turns sharply right to follow the brook and runs alongside a massive stone wall built along the banks of the stream. The trail continues along the stream to its terminus at the second junction with the green blazed Saw Mill Trail.